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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 2nd Dec 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

London Union on track to raise £3.5m target: London Union, parent company of Street Feast, has successfully raised £2.5 million on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The funds raised will be used to build a world-class, flagship street food market in central London alongside 12 local markets across the city. The business is also in the process of finalising a deal to raise an additional £1 million from private investors. Co-founder of London Union, Jonathan Downey, said: “The support we’ve received has been phenomenal. At the outset we wanted a relatively small number of highly engaged investors to take a real interest in our business and we have achieved that in just 30 days. It’s great to think we are now one step closer to creating the world’s greatest food market in central London.” Co-founder of London Union Henry Dimbleby said: “What’s great is that the success of our fundraise means we are well on the way to transforming London’s food landscape. We’ve already set a date for our first investors dinner and for the Annual General Eating in July, where we’ll eat, drink, listen and vote together on important company decisions.” London Union received investments from 160 individuals, with investments ranging from £5,000 up to £200,000. London Union’s street food markets were visited by more than 300,000 people over five months this spring and summer, generating £3.5 million of revenue and £1.5 million of market Ebitda. As many as 1.5 million people are expected to visit London Union markets in 2016. Last week London Union, reduced its business valuation to £26m – it is now looking to raise a total of £3.5m for 11.86% of the business. The company has reported it has received head of terms on a 10,000 square foot site in Philadelphia and has a strong pipeline of new sites in the UK. 

The Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition:

Win two Barclays Premier League football match tickets in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Two tickets to a Barclays Premier League football match of the winner’s choice (see terms and conditions here) are up for grabs on day two of the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: Who won the Barclays Premier League live on Sky Sports last year? a) Arsenal b) Tottenham c) Chelsea. Once you have chosen your answer, you can enter by clicking here. We will announce the winner in tomorrow’s newsletter along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Congratulations to Andy Dowie from the Galway Arms in Retford, Nottinghamshire, who was yesterday’s winner of a free 12 months’ Sky subscription for their licensed venue. Sky has partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes up for grabs include another free 12 months’ Sky subscription for a licensed venue, further tickets to Barclays Premier League football matches, tickets to the 2016 British Grand Prix and an NFL match at Wembley plus M&S Christmas hampers worth £100 and 46-inch HD Smart televisions. Good luck!

Industry News:

Peers hit out at restaurant companies that don’t pass on tips to waiting staff: Peers have hit out at restaurant companies that do not pass customer tips on to waiting staff. Liberal Democrat Lord Rennard said with Christmas coming customers may decide to be particularly generous to staff who served them well. But he claimed many would be unaware that “service charges paid by credit cards are the legal property of the employer and the staff providing the service may not receive any of this money”. At question time, he said some brands deducted a proportion of the charges to pay other business costs. “It’s clear that voluntary guidelines in relation to tipping and service charges are not working,” Lord Rennard said. “The charges and company policy should be properly displayed on menus and bills.” Independent crossbencher Lord Palmer claimed with the advent of the National Living Wage, tipping and service charges were “completely outdated” in 2015. Liberal Democrat Baroness Burt of Solihull said employers who kept hold of tips should be named and shamed. For the government, the Earl of Courtown said ministers were currently assessing evidence gathered from their investigation into tipping practices. “We will consider all the evidence and proposals put to us including those for improved transparency for the treatment of tips,” he said, before proposing any changes. Lord Courtown agreed some of the practices were “not as they should be” and said ministers would be looking at all these issues before coming to a decision.

Punch opens first Brewed & Baked licensed coffee shop: Punch has opened its first Brewed & Baked licensed coffee shop, a conversion of the former The Burgh pub in Musselburgh, East Lothian. The firm invested £125,000 into overhauling the premises from a traditional pub to its new image – its tagline is “a passion for coffee and beer”. It opens from 8am to 6pm – and will add an evening offer shortly. Steve McGowan from Punch told the local licensing board in the summer that Brewed & Baked was the first of its kind and would be closely monitored as it is expected to become the model for a chain of similar venues across the country. He said: “Because it is the first it will be closely monitored not just by area managers but directors of the company.” The venue’s website describes itself as a “family-run coffee house with the slight twist of being a licensed premises”.

Operators with mobile charging facilities likely to see increased customer loyalty and dwell time, new survey reveals:
Operators who have mobile charging facilities are likely to see consumers more inclined to spend longer in their venue, new research has revealed. 50% of nearly 1,000 people said they would be likely to order extra items such as drinks or desserts if the facility was available, according to the survey commissioned by UK leading technology supplier for the hospitality industry Call Systems Technology (CST). The research also showed one in two would feel safer knowing that they could charge their mobile phone when required. 40% would become more loyal as a customer to a restaurant, pub, bar, hotel or cafe if they were offered a way to charge their phones, whilst at the same time keeping the phone with them. 43% said they would actively seek out a venue if an app had the ability to direct them to their nearest operator with a charging service. CST group commercial director Ashley Sheppard has warned operators to make sure their guests are connected to avoid Nomophobia, the pathological fear, anxiety, or discomfort associated with being without their mobile phone. He added: “This is the key message we are seeing from our research. Today’s generation clearly values being charged and connected regardless of where they are. As an operator it’s a very simple service to offer at a basic level of customer service, which will not only enhance the experience, loyalty and dwell time, but more importantly, keep Nomophobia at bay!”

UK’s only dedicated pub industry trade show Pub16 opens for free registration:
Pub16, the only trade show dedicated to the UK pub industry, is back and open for free registration following a successful launch in 2015. Next year’s event takes place at Olympia, London, on 9 and 10 February with more exhibitors, more insight and more big names. Representing the £22bn UK pub industry, Pub16 is supported by some of the leading organisations in the sector, including the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, British Institute of Innkeeping, British Beer & Pub Association and the Campaign for Real Ale along with tenanted pub company operators including Punch and Enterprise Inns. It features a line-up of free-to-attend business sessions and panel discussions tailored to the aspiring pub owner and operator eager to build profits. There will be more than 150 hand-picked exhibitors presenting a wide range of products and services covering craft brewers and beer, premium wines, spirits and soft drinks, bar and kitchenware, design, technology and marketing support. Recruit – Train – Retain, a key feature area of the show, offers advice on how to manage staff, recruitment and tenancy, with advice from industry leaders, Springboard, People First and HIT Training. The Taste Table provides food and drink matching inspiration, advice and training and Sophie’s Bar will guide visitors through some of the UK’s best regional brewers, introduced by beer sommelier Sophie Atherton. For more information and to register to attend, visit

Legal update: Solicitors John Gaunt provide a useful monthly update on legal and licensing issues and the latest can be accessed here.

Company News:

Alex Hazzard to launch new upmarket bar and restaurant concept in Bristol next week, plans seven-strong estate in area:Burning Night Group co-founder Alex Hazzard will launch a new upmarket bar and restaurant in Bristol next week. Together with wife Sandra, he is opening The Boardroom in the heart of the Old City under the Way Out West Pub Company vehicle. They hope the new venture in St Nicholas Street will be the first of seven bars and restaurants they open in Bristol and the surrounding area with a second site already in the pipeline. The three-storey listed property, which was formerly a public house, has a redesigned interior including a wraparound bar area made from walnut, wooden floors, feature lighting and stained glass. The Way Out West brand is aimed at the top of the market and will use cutting edge features at its sites including a temperature-controlled wine wall, artisan bread ovens and vintage style meat slicers. The business model will see each venue support local suppliers and growers, sourcing all the produce served within as short a radius as possible, such as cheesemakers, gourmet chocolatiers and fine wine makers. Sandra Hazzard told the Bristol Post: “The concept for The Boardroom came about when we realised that we enjoyed drinking fine wines alongside cheese and charcuterie boards at home. Frustratingly, we found that there were no restaurants offering the relaxed style of dining which we enjoy, so we decided to open our own and The Boardroom concept was born. We are delighted to offer wine and whiskey flights, artisan beers from Wiper and True and local ciders paired with gourmet boards of charcuterie as well as local cheeses and handmade chocolates.” Alex Hazzard added: “We aim to be unique, and to offer a home away from home to our customers. We will have a cosy and welcoming atmosphere all day long. Our late licence means that people can linger over drinks long in to the evening.”

Grand Union announces partners for new experiential ‘bean, cocktail and razor’ bar concept in Wapping: Grand Union, the London bar group led by Adam Marshall and backed by Luke Johnson, has announced its partners for its new experiential concept opening in Wapping early next year. The company has signed with speciality coffee house Vagabond and male groomer Drakes of London as it prepares to launch its ninth site at the Land Securities development Thomas More Square. The concept, which will be based in a 6,300 square foot site, comes with a tagline of “bean, cocktail, razor” and is the first of its kind within the leisure sector. Vagabond, which has three London stores, will be providing coffee roasted at its site in Islington while traditional beard trims and haircuts will be available from Drakes of London. Marshall said: “The team behind Vagabond, founders Dainoras and Povilas, are simply at the top of the game when it comes to coffee selection, roasting and operation. They have a strong brand and a great will to succeed. Speciality coffee is so different to high-street coffee; if your coffee arrives to you within 90 seconds it wasn’t made properly. Drakes of London to us represent masters in their field and we are very excited to be working with the teams at Vagabond and Drakes of London on our new venture. This is an opportunity to be creative in a competitive market and offer a huge point of difference to our new customers in Wapping.”

Markets Group bosses outline plans for ten-strong estate: The bosses of Markets Group, which currently has two restaurants in London, have outlined plans to build a ten-strong estate. Anatoly Parkhomchuk, who started out as a bartender in Moscow before coming to England in the early 2000s, opened Crystal Palace Market with business partner Sergey Men in May 2013. Now following the opening of World’s End Market on the King’s Road in Chelsea in February this year, the duo have revealed they plan to grow the business with a third site in the pipeline for the restaurant, which specialises in market fresh produce cooked simply in a British brasserie style. Parkhomchuk told Business Insider: “The restaurant [Crystal Palace Market] was a great success so we looked to expand, and an opportunity came up with this property [World’s End Market] and we didn’t want to miss it. There was no strategic reason for this, it’s just circumstances dictated it. We’re looking to expand the operation to around ten units. We’re just about in the position to start opening a new location. We’re in touch with a couple of venture funds, and some private investors and we’re exploring how we can grow further. We’re gonna take some time, but at the minute our costs look pretty bulletproof, and both operations are running flawlessly.” Markets Group wants to open restaurants in both east and west London with Shoreditch and Fulham both possible locations, Parkhomchuk said. Men, who is in charge of operations, added: “We only use suppliers for alcohol and things. For the food, vegetables, fish, meat, we have drivers and chefs who go to the market almost every night. This makes everything cheaper, meaning we can give people quality for a lower price.”

Burger & Lobster to open tenth London site in Holborn: Burger & Lobster will open its tenth site in Holborn next spring, a 4,429 square foot unit located at 193-197 High Holborn. London-based Restaurant Property advised Burger & Lobster on this latest acquisition, which is due to open its doors in May next year. It is a 14-year lease, with a rent of £135,000 per annum, and was formerly home to Shanghai Blues. Restaurant Property also secured Burger & Lobster’s Cardiff restaurant, which is the brand’s biggest venue. UK-wide, there are Burger & Lobster restaurants in Bath and Manchester, and internationally, there are sites in New York, Stockholm, Dubai, and Kuwait. Nick Garston, of Restaurant Property, said: “We are delighted to have acquired this property off-market for Burger & Lobster to add to their rapidly expanding portfolio. Holborn is becoming a key target area for premium restaurants and this opening will further enhance its already vibrant food scene.”

Greene King secures two Scottish site licences in eight days: Greene King has secured two new site licences in Scotland in eight days following licensing board meetings. The first was in respect of a proposed new-build pub restaurant at Newton Mearns in the East Renfrewshire Board area. The second was for another proposed new-build Hungry Horse in Perth (Perth & Kinross Board area). It is hoped both developments will be on site and open in 2016.

Peach Pub Company makes three more staff partners: Peach, the award-winning independent pub company that’s run on a shared ownership basis, has made three more of its people partners. Ben Paul, general manager of The Embankment in Bedford, Jordan Marr his counterpart at The Chequers in Eversley Cross in Hampshire and senior chef Trevor Blake have all stepped up to take a share in the business. “Shared ownership is our first value for a reason,” said Peach co-founder Hamish Stoddart. “We know that sharing ownership creates a culture which wants Peach to succeed, so when we get to add more partners, we grab that opportunity with both hands. We now have 11 great partners in Peach and our strategy to add more won’t be changing any time soon. Every person who joins Peach, no matter what their role, gets the support of great training and a clear pathway to progress with personal development plans to help them become stakeholders in the business and share the rewards. Our new partners are all great examples of how that works. Jordan joined us as assistant manager and Trevor as chef de partie and both have worked their way up, building their experience and becoming great operators. Ben came to us as a deputy and soon became manager of our two successful Bedfordshire pubs. We work like this because it’s a great way of owning a stake in your own business. Partners get involved in the strategy of Peach. And we actively look for opportunities for the partners to invest and take risk in new pubs, so we share the rewards of success and the risk. After 15 years, three partners have left, all of them having benefited dramatically from their investment. Our focus on teaching people to run the business as their own has spawned five successful starts by our old team, partners or managers or chefs.”

Unique Hockley Arts Club, spread across four floors, opens in Nottingham: Nottingham’s newest bar, The Hockley Arts Club, has now opened its doors after the transformation and restoration of the Victorian grade II-listed building it is housed in. The creative team behind popular cult venue Das Kino have sought to create a unique venue in the heart of Nottingham. Spread across four floors, the ground floor houses mid-century furniture, Scandinavian wood panelling and features an imposing back bar stocked with unique liquors. The first floor has the intimate feel of a gentleman’s club surrounded by original fittings, a bar, and a series of rooms lit by moody lamps and neon lights. The Electric Garden lies in the loft space to entice guests with the feel of an outdoor meets indoor feel, complete with a third bar enclosed by foliage. Guests can experience casual dining in the form of shareable plates, an extensive wine list and a carefully crafted list of cocktails. General manager Adam Sumner said: “It’s been a fantastic opening! People really seemed to love the unique décor and what’s on offer. After months of renovating and furniture sourcing, it’s amazing to hear all the positive feedback.”

Patty & Bun secures fourth site, this time in Soho: Property agent Shelley Sandzer has secured a 1,500 square foot site for better burger brand Patty & Bun spread over ground floor and basement levels at 18 Old Compton Street, Soho – it is due to open in early 2016. The new restaurant marks a fourth site for the brand in London. Designed by an in-house team, the layout will feature the same stripped-back interior as Patty & Bun’s popular James Street location. Kit Alexander at Shelley Sandzer said: “Old Compton Street is one of Soho’s hotspots for cool dining brands and we have secured a great site for Patty & Bun. It is such a busy area that draws people in from all over London and we are sure that the brand will make a massive success of the location.” Joe Grossman, founder of Patty & Bun, added: “Shelley Sandzer were instrumental in helping us land this new site and we can not wait to sink our teeth into it. The next opening for Patty & Bun was something we had to consider very carefully and we were provided with this great option. Now, we look forward to bringing the ultimate comfort food and a truly memorable burger experience to the West End.”

Masterchef finalist to open Asian restaurant at Celtic Manor: Masterchef finalist and Hokkei founder Larkin Cen has announced he will launch his first restaurant at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport, Wales. The restaurant, to be called Cen, will have an emphasis on Asian flavours and creativity and is set to open on 29 January in the five-star resort’s Manor House. It will be Celtic Manor ’s first Asian restaurant – although, back in 2013, Cen first cut his teeth as a restaurateur at the venue when he introduced Hokkei to the world in the form of a sold-out, four-day pop-up event. “It’s over two years since the pop-up and so to be returning to the Celtic Manor to open a different and unique Asian restaurant is wonderful,” said Cen, who’s long been hinting at expanding his culinary empire beyond his successful takeaway business on the capital’s Crwys Road. “I’m really looking forward to showing my passion and enthusiasm for Asian food to a different culinary audience and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Leon opens 32nd site, this time in London’s Pancras Square:
The presence of Leon in King’s Cross has doubled with its latest opening on Pancras Square, its 32nd site so far. The newest addition is the brand’s tenth new branch since January. Marketing manager Rachael Gough said: “This is a big one for us – we can’t wait to serve fresh food in thirty seconds from our thirty-second site.” The new site neighbours PRS for Music and Louis Vuitton, and will soon be joined by Google, Havas and Universal Music. The 54-seat Leon is located very close to St Pancras station.

Award-winning Cardiff-based street food concept to open first restaurant: Award-winning Cardiff-based street food concept Hang Fire Smokehouse will open its first restaurant. The concept, launched by Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn three years ago with the idea of bringing traditional southern American barbecue to the streets of Wales, will open Hang Fire Southern Kitchen at the redeveloped Pumphouse in Barry in February. Hang Fire Smokehouse was named “Best Street Food” at BBC Radio Four’s Food Awards and the duo are even writing their own cookbook. The two-storey restaurant will have the main dining area and a craft beer bar upstairs, and a small late-night “speak easy” style New Orleans cocktail bar downstairs. Evans told the Barry & District News: “This is the biggest project we’ve taken on yet, and probably the most exciting. We’re head over heels in love with the beautifully restored Pumphouse, it’s already bursting with character.” Guinn added: “The street food and pop-up model only allows us to showcase a small part of what we do. Barbecue will of course be a feature but the restaurant will take folks on a journey from New Orleans to Kansas City and Texas to Tennessee, with a Welsh twist, as we showcase some of the recipes from our cookbook.”

New American smokehouse and grill concept opens on site of former Lincoln pub: A new American smokehouse bar and grill concept has been opened in Lincoln. Huckleberry’s, which is the brainchild of Di Fuller and head chef Tom Rose, has launched on the site of the formerly Ye Olde Crown pub in Clasketgate, creating 21 jobs. Fuller and Rose have extensive experience in the food industry with the latter having worked at restaurants across America. The menu includes St Louis cut and baby back ribs, which are cooked for 24 hours in the smoker after being marinated for 48 hours, and handmade burgers. Fuller told The Lincolnite the focus of the restaurant is on quality food and said: “Every element of the menu features home-made and locally sourced ingredients. We have an authentic smoker, in which we change the timber every month to get different flavours and aromas. All the meat is butchered in-house, and our focus is scratch-cooking, our fresh bread and even our sauces are made from scratch.”

Michelin-starred chef launches Cat’s Pyjamas in Headingley: A chef who received a Michelin star aged 29 has partnered a local entrepreneur to open a new Indian food venture in Headingley. The Cat’s Pyjamas has been launched by Alfred Prasad, who worked as executive chef at Tamarind Collection, and entrepreneur Alison White, selling Indian street food and craft beer. White said: “Indian food in Yorkshire has long been part of the culture. We wanted to add a modern twist to it by creating fresh, delicious street food.” The entrepreneur, who is also behind White’s Deli and the Leeds-based FaceFacts research company, said Headingley was chosen as the location after she noticed a growing population of young families who were frequenting the bars and eateries in the area. “There was a shift in summer in who was coming to the deli and August 2015 was the busiest month this year for White’s proving there is a growing dining scene in the area and that it is no longer totally reliant on students,” she added. Leeds-based Bloom Agency created the look and feel of the restaurant including naming it. Creative director Joe Mason said: “The name was inspired by India’s influence on the English language. Alfred and Alison wanted something that was both memorable and pronounceable.” The Cat’s Pyjamas was chosen in reference to the Bengal tiger, which is native to India and the word pyjamas as one that moved from Indian to English and means “leg clothing”.

Crystal Maze venue to open in London with street food offer: A recreation of 1990s game show The Crystal Maze is to open in London as a visitor attraction, the London Evening Standard has reported. Ben Hodges, Dean Rodgers, and Tom Lionetti-Maguire, launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a full-scale replica in the capital. The trio raised £930,000 in four weeks to create the experience which, much like the show, would see teams of eight taken around four “zones” — Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic — by their own “quizmaster”. Now, following six months of development, the team has acquired a 30,000 square foot venue between King’s Cross and Angel, north London, for three years with the experience officially opening to the public on 15 March. Tickets will cost £50 per person. Various “street food offerings” are also planned. As well as the £930,000 raised through crowdfunding, “substantial” private investment has also been invested in to the venture.

Mitchells & Butlers hires new agency for Harvester and Toby Carvery brands: Pablo, the creative agency co-founded by the former England rugby player Ben Kay, has won a pitch to become the lead strategy and creative agency for Mitchells & Butlers Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, Campaign magazine has reported. The agency was appointed by the brands’ owner Mitchells & Butlers after a competitive pitch against four other agencies. J Walter Thompson was the incumbent. Pablo is charged with developing brand identities, creating an ad campaign and managing communications. The agency previously worked with Mitchells & Butlers on Ember Inns.

Australian chef Brett Redman launches Japanese street food restaurant in London: Australian chef Brett Redman has launched a Japanese street food restaurant in London. Redman, who is behind Elliot’s Café in Borough Market and The Richmond in Hackney, has teamed up with Natalie Lee-Joe to open Jidori in Kingsland High Street, Dalston, reports The Handbook. The 40-cover restaurant features a Kama-Asa shoten grill at the centre of the open kitchen. It serves a selection of Yakitori skewers using all the parts of the chicken, as well as small plates and rice dishes. To accompany the Yakitori is a cocktail list using Japanese spirits and ingredients as well as Japanese craft beers and sakes.

Papa John’s franchisee opens second site, plans six more:
Papa John’s franchisee Bally Brar has opened his second site and is planning up to six more. Brar, who also manages the nearby store in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, has opened a new branch in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. He said: “Gerrards Cross is a great location and the outlet will also cover the surrounding areas of Beaconsfield and Chalfont St Peter too. In the past few weeks we have prepared thoroughly, by training six of our 20 new staff in Berkhamsted.” Brar, who previously worked as an area manager for a rival firm, added: “Joining Papa John’s as a franchisee has exceeded all my expectation. Head office staff have been really supportive throughout and I am excited to be planning a further five-six Papa John’s store openings within the next three years.” Papa John’s is currently running an incentive scheme to help franchisees in the early stages of growing their businesses, which includes discounted royalty fees, contribution towards marketing spend plus free equipment, for new stores opening in enterprise development zones of the Midlands, Wales, the north west and north east of England and Scotland.

New organic cafe-restaurant hybrid opens in Manchester: New organic cafe-restaurant hybrid Grano has opened in the Manchester suburb of Hulme. The concept is the brainchild of Manchester Metropolitan University graduate Boki Shinebayar, who said he is passionate about the ethical values of the shop. The produce is sourced as sustainably as possible and day-to-day operations are run in an eco-conscious manner. Its interior comprises of bespoke tables and wine racks made from recycled wood while the glass shop front allows natural light to flood into the building. The food menu includes hot options such as paellas, ciabattas and pizza as well as meat-based and vegetarian sandwiches. The bar area offers a wide selection of wines, beers and ciders, as well as juices and soft drinks.

Original Bowling Company gets competition go-ahead:
The UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator The Original Bowling Company (TOBC), has been given approval by the Competitions and Markets Authority to complete the acquisition of Bowlplex. The deal, which will complete next week, will see TOBC add 11 Bowlplex locations to its portfolio, taking its number of nationwide bowling centres to 54. Steve Burns, TOBC chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have been given approval to acquire 11 Bowlplex centres in locations that are an excellent addition to our existing business. We are looking forward to working closely with the Bowlplex centre management team in introducing our innovative, customer focused ways of working. We will be making significant investment in the Bowlplex estate over the next three years creating fantastic, upgraded environments under the Hollywood Bowl brand.”

Bella Italia, Chiquito and Nando’s secure sites at Mansfield retail park: Restaurant brands Bella Italia, Chiquito and Nando’s have secured sites at a retail park in Mansfield. Bella Italia, owned by Casual Dining Group, opened its doors on Monday after agreeing a 20-year lease on a 3,500 square foot unit at the Mansfield Leisure Park. The Restaurant Group brand Chiquito is due to open on Saturday after taking a 25-year lease on a 4,000 square foot site while Nando’s will follow in January in a 3,500 square foot unit, having signed a 25-year lease. David Bell, head of UK leisure at Savills, which helped landlord Legal & General Property complete the lettings, told the Nottingham Post: “These national restaurant operators will provide fantastic eating out options for the area and will really cement this scheme as a key leisure destination in Mansfield.” Located one mile south of Mansfield town centre, the retail park features an eight-screen Odeon cinema, a drive-through McDonald’s and a Walkers Bingo.

Yotel plans 50 new sites in five years: Yotel, the budget accommodation chain that offers pod rooms for as little as four hours at a time, has launched an aggressive expansion plan and aims to have 50 new hotels over the next five years, the FT has reported. Eight hotels are in development, including two airport sites at Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Changi in Singapore, and six in central New York, Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Dubai and Singapore. The plans represent a significant expansion for Yotel, which launched eight years ago. Since then, it has opened airport sites at Heathrow, Gatwick and Schiphol in Amsterdam and a 669-room flagship hotel in Times Square, New York. “We are targeting to develop up to 50 hotels in the next five years,” said Hubert Viriot, Yotel’s chief executive.

Whitbread to open new 138-bedroom Premier Inn on Hampton by Hilton site at Derby leisure complex:
Whitbread-owned Premier Inn is to open a new hotel and Thyme restaurant at a Derby city centre leisure complex. The company has agreed terms with owner Moorfield Real Estate Fund III to take over the Hampton by Hilton site at Derby Riverlights. The new hotel, due to open early next year, will boast 138 bedrooms, conference facilities as well as a 120-cover Thyme restaurant. Head of acquisitions (south) for Premier Inn John Bates said: “We are delighted to be bringing forward a new 138-bedroom Premier Inn to the Derby Riverlights development – breathing new life into the former Hampton hotel as a brand new Premier Inn.” Charles Ferguson Davie, from Moorfield, added: “Premier Inn will be the first of a host of new occupiers at Riverlights. Since we acquired the building in May this year, it has been our aim to ensure the area becomes a key leisure destination in Derby city centre. We are currently in conversations with other potential occupiers and are confident that Riverlights will offer a popular and diverse range of restaurants, bars and leisure operators in due course.” The remaining 15,500 square foot of space comprises a mix of units, ranging from 3,600 to 8,000 square foot in size, each of which has a significant area for outdoor seating. Located adjacent to the River Derwent, Riverlights is already home to a 105-bedroom Holiday Inn, a Genting Casino and Derby bus station.

Propel and Thinking Drinkers launch second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: Propel is launching its second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour on Thursday, 28 January in London, this time focusing on south London. The tour, led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, will visit seven of London’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour tour. McFarland and Sandham will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation analysis, and spot up-and-coming trends. Site visits will include Q&A sessions with London’s leading retailers, looking at award-winning sites, a hybrid bottle shop and bar, beer-centric retail, mobile canning, beer sourcing, direct sourcing, menus, brewing on-site and a host of other issues. The day includes lunch and breakfast and travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 for non-ALMR members. Email to book or to obtain further details.

Final panel line-up confirmed for Propel and Elliotts Advanced Marketing Masterclass:
The final panel line-up for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass has been confirmed. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will leads a discussion with newly appointed Thai Leisure Group marketing director Iain White-Duncan, ETM Group group marketing manager Zoe Knowles and Greene King partnership director Russell Danks about where they see success, their plans for the future and other topics discussed throughout the day. Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the event, which takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The day will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing including contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. It will also include the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential and how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives. There will also be the latest insight into consumers’ behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers as well as how to brief and work with an agency effectively. Tickets are priced at £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Adam Dickinson on

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago opens for bookings:
The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is now open for bookings. The trip, sponsored by CPL Training and Sky, takes place between Thursday, 19 May and Monday, 23 May 2016. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions at the NRA show. It also involves two tours of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show combined with our tour of Chicago is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To get more information or to book, email

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